Friday, 7 August 2015

A Stroll in Swaledale

Having just returned from Snowdonia on Wednesday we drove to Reeth in Swaledale for a couple of nights to meet up with some old friends.

On Sunday we walked west along the river to Gunnerside and had lunch at the King's Head pub. Black Sheep Riggwelter on Draught and in excellent condition, a rare pleasure!

We returned to Reeth on the south side of the river, much of the way in the rain. That's unusual!

Here are a few phone photos, I didn't carry my Mamiya 7 film camera as it was a dull day.




Walking to Buxton tomorrow, Saturday, for a day running Gallery in the Gardens in Pavilion Gardens. A walk without rain would be good, 8 of my last 9 days walking have been wet!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Snowdonia Trek The End

Tuesday 28th July 2015, our last of the 8 day trek in Snowdonia and the longest at 16 miles. As usual it was raining as we left the excellent Bryn Tyrch Inn in Capel Curig.

We needed to reach Conwy and our route was over the high moors then along the higher parts of the Conway valley to a pub for lunch. The rain persisted for the first few hours then becoming showers as we reached the more cultivated parts of the valley. The sun only came out a couple of hours after we finished in Conway! Over 8 days we had just 1 dry day and mostly it was persistent rain for many hours.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that we were jolly well looked after at the excellent Castlebank Hotel in Conway once again. The hotels for the last 2 nights plus The Golden Fleece in Tremadog and the Snowdonia Mountain Lodge were the undoubted highlights of our accommodation.  The Pen y Gwyrd Hotel near Snowdon was an experience as it was where the 1953 first successful Everest expedition stayed to train for their trip. In fact if they were to return there today I suspect they would recognise it immediately as you appeared to be stepping back decades as you wandered around all the nooks and crannies.

In total I took just 6.5 rolls of 120 Ilford 400 Delta film in 8 days, that's 65 negatives at 10 shots a roll. In Conway after we finished I took a further 2.5 rolls around the castle walls and harbour of the castle and town. I carried my Mamiya 7 camera for the first 6 days but my camera case, complete with it's all weather cover, was so saturated after day 6 that I didn't carry it for the last 2 days for fear of it happening again.

I will crunch some numbers and do a summary post as usual but not just yet.

Sunny Conway at Trek's End


We thought this was our first lunchtime pub in 8 days, unfortunately it was closed when we reached it at 1pm! The sign outside the door said Welcome - Open but Al's pose was a little premature. Our first pint of the day was actually after we finished, in The Albion pub in Conway.

Impressive waterfalls, a by-product of heavy rain!

All photos taken on Moto-X mobile phone.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Snowdonia Trek Early Morning Call

We originally planned to walk Moel Siabod today but in view of the weather forecast (similar to yesterday, wet and windy) we changed the route to lower ground.

Before the day started we had an early morning call in the form of the fire alarm going off around 7am. We quickly pulled some clothes on and grabbed a waterproof as it was raining. 

There were a dozen or so residents outside with us but no staff. After 10 minutes and still no sign of any staff from the Gwesty Ty Gorsaf Hotel in Blaenau Ffestiniog, no smoke, no flames, no fire brigade, we assumed it was a false alarm and returned to our rooms!

After getting re-dressed properly we had breakfast, paid and left. The hotel also doesn't do food on Sunday's and Mondays, I don't think either of us will be back.

It was raining as we started and continued for most of the day. We walked up through a working slate quarry. On the sodden moors at the top we stopped for a minute or two to watch a pair of Peregrine Falcons performing aerobatics. The male bird flying high then folding it's wings and plummeting towards the ground. Quite a sight. An Osprey yesterday, Peregrines today, maybe I should walk in the rain more often?

Fortunately, we managed to find a couple of pubs on our new route to escape from the rain for a few minutes. A bonus of doing a lower route.

I didn't even carry my Mamiya film camera today and put my mobile in a waterproof case inside my rucsac. Just took 1 shot on my mobile of the river in Capel Curig near our hotel.

Tomorrow is our last day and we walk the 15 miles to Conwy. The forecast looks vaguely familiar, wind and rain. Oh joy!
River at Capel Curig

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Snowdonia Trek Horrible Day on Cnicht

Today we walked from Tremadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog over Cnicht, a small mountain just under 700 metres. About 15.5 miles but it took 8.5 hours, slowed by the weather, scrambling on slippery rock and old age!

It was raining as we left our hotel and hadn't stopped when we reached our next stop in Blaenau.

The higher we went the worse it became with winds over 40 mph behind the rain making my face feel like a pin cushion at times. Rain was running down my arms making my fleece sleeves very wet as well as blowing in around my face. Horrible weather!

Al fared better with his new Gore-Tex jacket and trousers but you can't always have new gear. Most of the time mine is fine.

I carried my Mamiya 7 camera all day with no chance to use it. Even in a LowePro case with a waterproof cover everything was wet.

Our hotel doesn't do food on a Sunday so we went out for an Indian. Now having a pint in the pub. Hope most of the gear is dry when we return to the room. 

We turned on both radiators and heated towel rail to Max to dry gear. Room may be more like sauna so sleeping may be a problem but gear should be dry!

Forecast for tomorrow is similar so having second thoughts about going over Moel Siabod. May find a lower route. Five wet days in six so far! So much for adding to my Snowdonia portfolio.

One highlight of the day was seeing an Osprey a few miles from Tremadog. I had no idea they were nesting in the area.

Welsh Highland Railway

Falls above Blaenau Ffestiniog
Photos taken on Moto-X phone


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Snowdonia Trek in the Sun!

Today was the fifth of our 8 day trek around Snowdonia. It was also our first dry and sunny day!

We left our hotel in Beddgelert late, cooked breakfast wasn't served until after 9am. 

The first mile was through farmland then we were on a steep track up Moel Hebog. Bit of scrambling part way up too. Cold wind even when sun was shining.

Spectacular views from the top. I took a few shots on my Mamiya 7 camera. Nice sky so used an orange filter to darken it and put more contrast in the clouds. I was travelling light, just 1 camera and lens with 2 filters, yellow and orange,   and 6 rolls of Ilford 400 Delta 120 film, rated at 500 ISO.

The descent from the top looked easy on the map. The highest part was Access Land so we could walk anywhere. Then down steep rough terrain to an abandoned village and around a reservoir. 

We were within 2 miles of the end of the day but paths marked on the map were nowhere to be seen. Our way was also barred by barbed wire in 2 places, and so on. We eventually made it to Tremadog at 4.45pm, rather later than expected.

Snowdon from Moel Hebog

Al and Moel Hebog Summit View

Flowers above abandoned village

Ruined buildings beside reservoir

Porthmadog Coast


Friday, 24 July 2015

Snowdonia Trek Snowdon in the Rain

A bit of a late start today as breakfast started at 8.30am. That meant we were away at the crack of 9.45am!

Rain right from the start, all day in fact. Al's hip was playing up so we just went up Miner's Track to Snowdon, missing out Lliwedd. Not the greatest day to do more than we needed to anyway.

Probably over 25 years since I last went up Snowdon. The zig-zags are now paved with stone slabs. Whatever happened to the scree? The old concrete bunker cafe has also been replaced by a smart new building with cafe/gift shop.

I took a few shots with the proper camera and a few with the phone for this blog. Not a good day for photos.

I thought I would be able to replenish my Snowdonia portfolio with this trip, looks like I have a few but not the number I hoped for.

In Beddgelert tonight. Well fed and watered! Tomorrow Moel Hebog and Tremadog.

View from Rhydd Ddu Wes

Snowdon View

Snowdon Watkin Path View

Snowdon Reflected in Llyn Llydaw

Lliwedd Reflections


Snowdonia Trek Balancing on Rocks

Well rested after yesterday we headed off towards Ogwen. Round the back of the lake then over to Tryfan via the Heather Terrace. 

Really rough walking on jumbled rocks, so had to make sure I had my balance before placing the next foot down. 

It was a long ascent finally reaching the ridge below the summit. The last bit was a scramble over big rocks. 

It was coming over black as if it was going to rain. We hurried to take our pictures then made our way down slowly.

From the col we took the track up to some small lakes I had photographed many years ago. They give reflections of Tryfan on still days. Today wasn't one of those, it was quite breezy. I took a few but it was quite dull and raining.
It just remained to descend to the Pen y Gwryd Hotel at the foot of the Llanberis Pass. The Miner's Track was also rough most of the way down and boggy at the bottom.

The hotel is a bit quirky, a bit like stepping back in time. Good food and beer though.

Tomorrow we go up Snowdon, fingers crossed for better weather than so far.

Tryfan Summit

Tryfan Summit

Tryfan Almost Reflected

Tryfan Part Reflection

Tryfan From Ogwen

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Snowdonia Trek Carnedds Autumn and Summer

Today Al and I continued our trek around Snowdonia by walking from Llanfairfechan to Bethesda.

It was raining when we started and barely stopped for the first 5 hours. There was a strong cold wind too. I put my fleece hat, neck warmer and gloves on. It was like a wet Autumn walk.

Not many photo opportunities for my Mamiya 7 film camera. Just took a few on my Moto-X phone.

Thankfully it brightened up later and was a proper summer afternoon, from Carnedd Llewellyn onwards. Managed 2 rolls of Ilford 400 Delta 120 film, 20 exposures mid to late afternoon.

We took our time with the last bit which was sunny. It took us 9 hours to cover the 14 miles with over 6000 feet of ascent and 6 peaks, the last 2 being proper mountains in their own right, the first 4 were blips on the ridge.
View from Drum

Cloud View

Carnedd Dafydd and beyond

Tryfan and the Glyders

View to North Wales Coast